Documento Del Mese Maggio Fontana
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Lucio Fontana

Document of the Month of May 2014

Right in the middle of the Fascist era (as indicated by the date in Roman numerals on the heading of the document corresponding to the year 1934-35), a young Lucio Fontana sent a letter of presentation to the architect Ambrogio Annoni, at that time superintendent for the Monuments of Ravenna and a professor at the Politecnico. In a letter attached to the document, Annoni in turn mentioned the artist to Adolfo Zacchi, then the architect of the Fabbrica, recommending him for a number of works of sculpture for the Duomo.

An autograph note by Lucio Fontano with some facts on his training and work has been rediscovered amongst the papers of the archives of the Duomo; it dates from long before his participation in the great competition for the fifth door of the Duomo, which Fontana won in 1952, arriving equal first with Minguzzi, the drawings, sketches and models of which remain and are currently on show in the Museo del Duomo.

In the mid-1930s in fact, the artist was gaining renown as an abstract sculptor, and had already taken part in important exhibitions and had personal shows abroad, in Italy and above all in Milan, at the Permanente and at the famed Galleria del Milione, gradually moving first towards the French abstract movement and then joining its Italian counterpart. In the letter he refers to winning the Premio Tantardini, in which he indeed came first in 1934 with his sculpture The Harpooner.

In the 1940s he signed the Manifesto Blanco which marked the beginning of his “spatial” experimentations and subsequently he founded the Italian spatial art movement: the artist provocatively went beyond the two dimensional space of canvases, moving outside the traditional dimensions of art with “cuts” or holes.